Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Real Reason To Hate The NMPA…

I am not a good guitar player. I’ve been playing a long time and I enjoy it more than anything else in the world, but with guitar playing, the total time dedicated is less important than how frequently you play. I played much better when I was playing and recording every day/week while still in college. I’ve figured out a bunch of new techniques, moves, etc…, but my meter is not anywhere it used to be back when I played with a drummer in the studio with regularity.

What I do have is a pretty good ear. I can recognize keys, chords and moves pretty easily. For most pop/rock songs, I can get through them almost completely by listening to them only a couple of times. It’s a lot of fun to do. The ones I like best I will sit down and listen carefully for the trickier parts and build on them. Every once in while, I will get confounded on a song that I am stubbornly attempting to learn. Either the mix is burying the part I’m trying to learn, or it’s just a chord alien to my repertoire. When this happens, the way I satisfy my curiosity is by hitting the guitar tab boards. For the non-guitar players, tab, short for tablature, is a simple graphical/numeric language that assigns numbers to finger positions on the guitars fret board. For those like me who cannot read music, it’s a godsend. It’s a great tool for learning and documenting what you play. Here’s what a G major chord looks like in tab form:


There are many, many other complexities, but that’s the gist. Guitar players and instructors have been passing tab between each other for centuries without impedance. When the internet became our reality, tab sites blew up everywhere. I try not to go to them as a primary source because I enjoy the challenge of figuring out stuff myself, but as I’ve stated, I like to check it against what others have done and use them when I’m stuck.

Hue B. Mooksuki at Huezine reminded me in a recent post of something that just seems to be ridiculously nanny state. Apparently the National Music Publisher’s Association has begun targeting tab sites for copy write infringement violations. If you go to Guitar Tab Universe you’ll receive a message that explains it all, but Hue and Thurston Moore say it best:

Come on NMPA, - you may as well start writing letters to anyone who has taught a buddy how to play a song or a riff like that awesome intro to "Sweet Child O Mine" (NMPA you can send that letter to my old neighbor and Slash fan - Sal). While visiting Guitar Tab Universe I see a new letter to all visitors as well as the following quote from Thurston Moore...

"So lots of respect for all you boys and girls out there who tab out songs like all the time.You bring rock and roll music closer to the people."

Gratefully yours,

Thurston Moore
Sonic Youth/Guitars, Vocals

Shame on you NMPA. Your time is better spend chasing down those stealing recorded music, not folks learning how to play a musical instrument. I hope this goes away fast.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hey kid, come here... Do you like rock & roll?

As anyone who has younger sisters can attest, at some point in your teenage/early adult life you experience a time when you begin to actually publicly associate with each of them after years of wanting absolutely nothing to do with them. They are now welcome at your parties, hangout spots, and in some cases even date your friends. It's an awkward right of passage that happens for the best really and once you're through it, you wonder why you spent so much time trying to avoid them.

My experience was no exception. I can’t be sure, but I think it was at one of those big Christmas/New Years parties that you throw when your parents leave town and foolishly leave the house to you (because afterall, your a mature adult now right?) that I was reintroduced to John Adams by one of my sisters. I say reintroduced because I may have actually met him before, perhaps while a senior in high school (he may have been dating my sister), but I'm pretty sure I was probably a dick to him or something. John was this guy who was as immersed in punk rock music as I was with heavy metal. He looked and acted the part to a tee. It’d be safe to say punk music ran through his veins. I also recall him being a bright guy and quite articulate.

Flash forward through many years and many solar systems to two years ago…While in NYC on a visit, my friend Jackson takes me and his lovely gal to The Continental one summer night to see John’s band The X’s play to a full room packed with summer remnants of NYU undergrads. It took months for my hair to return to a relaxed state and I was actually left speechless for days after getting my ass rocked off. That night, The X’s proved to be a well rehearsed powerhouse of pure loud and proud energy. John serves as frontman/rhythm guitarist and completely dominated the stage flanked by his two gargoyles, guitarist Chris Goerke, former Fuel bassist/singer Brett Scallions, with Mike Maenza pounding the ever lovin’ life out of the drums behind them. The one thing that struck me was how comfortable they all were up on that stage. I think once you achieve that level of familiarity with the stage, the rest of the room disappears in the eyes and ears of the audience no matter how small of a place it is. John Law (as he calls himself now) and his band The X’s definitely did that for me. It was a huge bonus that they played Tedstock that fall with Mrs. Alva and I in attendance.

The X’s have just released their first self titled full length CD. This is truly a great record. I must have listened to it ten times Saturday while slogging it out in the weekend heat mowing my yard. Whoever did the recording captured The X’s sound perfectly. It’s tones are thick, ominous, and scary. It’s not over done, but it’s not sparse either. It sounds like exactly how I heard them that night at The Continental.

At this time, it’s only available from their website, but I believe that it’s only a matter of time before a big deal comes their way. Get it while it’s hot!

Hey Mrs. Alva, need a gift idea for your loving husband?

There has never been a better gift for your loving husband than this (with the exception of our daughter of course). I know you've been asking me for my advice on how you can better show your love to me and this token gift would be a perfect way to do just that.



I asked Pete why he was sellin' this beauty and says he's gotta lighten his load a little. He also said that Hip-o has a limited release of 5000 remastered copies of his "Blue Guitar" album. This was his second Geffen release and as good, if not better than his fabled first solo record (I'll blog about both soon). No plans for the first one to be re-released at this time according to Pete which sucks.

"...Travelin' light, gotta hole in your soul where the blow through."

Friday, August 25, 2006

"This next song is one we're extemely proud of, it was nominated for absolutely nothing..."

…and with that, Joe Walsh and his James Gang launched into a knock you down version of “Collage” from their 1969 debut ‘Yer Album’. I sort of had the notion in the back of my head that a James Gang reunion tour was something that Joe Walsh did to throw drummer Jimmy Fox and bassist Dale Peters a bone after so much time. Then I began to collect all the data I had stored in my head related to Joe Walsh and immediately dismissed that notion as something that he’d never do. The show I saw last night with my wife and friends proved that out.

Many quickly toss Walsh into the category of unsung guitar hero, or great side man, etc… and that is a fair enough assessment on the surface I guess. Some will say he sold out to corporate rock by continuing to join the Eagles on the their endless round of “farewell” tours, but mostly what gets missed are two things that are solid facts about Joe Walsh: He is the most unpretentious person ever to play rock and roll, and he is a most accomplished and brilliant song writer. Yes, he is a phenomenal guitar wiz. His slide work is immediately recognizable. You could pick out a Joe Walsh solo in two notes his sound is so distinct. But how ‘bout the riffs? not just Funk #49 or Walk Away, but Bomber, Take a Look Around, his Eagles or solo stuff (The Confessor, Life in the Fast Lane, Victim of Love)? Just awesome riffage.

Joe Walsh claims that he was road schooled by the notorious Keith Moon. No doubt there are enough stories detailing bad drunken behavior, hotel carnage, and tour bus shenanigan’s to fill a few volumes, but if you’re a fan of Joe’s, you know his absurd humor and quick wit are NOT sole products of alcoholic excesses (he’s been sober for 12 years now). It's simple, Joe is just a truly humble man. The lyrics of his 1978 hit “Life’s Been Good” aren't just clever lyrics that happen to rhyme, they're personal testiment to what he sincerely feels about himself, his career, his music, and the crazy business of rock and roll. I think the reason he and Keith Moon got along so well has more to do with the fact that they both had enormous senses of humor and loved to laugh. This is still very much the case with Joe as evident last night. This is not to say that Joe and his Gang don’t take what they’re doing seriously, quite the contrary. Just listen to the "Ride’s Again” album and you’ll quickly dismiss that thought. He’s not a Frank Zappa nihilistic curmudgeon type comedy act either. I guess the only way to describe him is genuine, not just his personality, but his music as well.

Joe Walsh is the kind of guy who more than likely just finds all his gorgeous songs by noodling around on his guitar in front of the TV watching Wheel of Fortune or something. After the final puzzle is solved, I imagine he just gets up and matter of factly, wanders into his home studio, and puts the whole thing together top to bottom before even he knows what happened.

When I told my little sister who is too young and too disinterested to know who The James Gang is that I was going to see them tonight she predictably responded, “Who’s that?” I went about with the pat answer, “It’s Joe Walsh’s first band, the guitar player for the Eagles, and…” at which point she stopped me and interjected, “Oh! Wait a minute, You mean Howard Stern’s friend…”. I don’t listen to Stern regularly unfortunately, but did instantly recall back in the late eighties Howard’s phone calls to Joe out in California at 3:00 AM PST in which Howard would ask a heavily sedated and sleep weary Joe to do a bong hit and then play a request or two. Joe always replied, “Sure Howard, let me get my guitar..”. Joe is simply the kinda guy that would walk 10 miles to keep from letting anybody down.

Yes sis, that’s the Joe Walsh I’m talking about. The most down to earth, mad rippin’ guitar player, song writer, AND most famously, loyal friend of Howard Stern.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Sad Day Indeed...

It's a decision, and we just have to live with it. No, I'm not talking about the Bush/Gore FL/OH vote count of 2000/2004, I'm talking about this. This is hugely impacting to my household since my daughter has already committed nine planets to HER solar system already. It says so right there in her LeapPad book for cripes sake!

Now I've got to bring her up to speed on what "Dwarf Planets" are and some how avoid confusing her with all of this Disney vernacular.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I don't what they're talking about...

...but animated avatars are NOT gay. That is how they were described to me by some of my technology friends on the golf course this weekend. Fred at A VC has one of SitePal's animated avatars anchored in the upper right hand corner of his blog. His likeness has been creeping us all out for some time now as the talking head follows your cursor around. Fred's been good about regularly changing the message on his, and has put his animated self to good use. Oddcast, the geniuses who generate SitePal's avatars, are one of Union Square Venture’s portfolio company's. Given the enormous success that that partnership usually generates, I'd say that being a USV portfolio company is positive proof of animated avatars non-gayness. The creepiness factor alone that these avatars possess made it a must have for the Intravenus De Milo blog.

I’m also quite proud of myself for figuring out how to manipulate the HTML code of my Blogger template to anchor my avatar into the margin all on my own (SitePal actaully makes it pretty easy). I quickly put my scene together, and in my zeal to get one posted, probably didn’t spend enough time in the model selection process, thus I ended up with one who bares only slight resemblance to me sans my goatee, but looks more like a heavy set Ted Danson. I’ve got another character put together that I feel is a more accurate depiction, but can’t seem to replace it in SitePal with the one currently active. (Fred HELP!)

SitePal also offers custom avatar modeling. You simply provide them a photo and they animate it for you. This I’d like to do. I’d have to decide on a youthful Tony Alva, the 42 year old domesticated one, or one somewhere in between. Nonetheless, I will try to put my avatar to good use and be as creative as possible with it. The ability to change backgrounds, upload audio, change many physical attributes, etc… is a great deal of fun. Thanks Fred for turning me on to this.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Blowing The Dust Off of Grey Cat...

Busy weekend. My mother had her 17 year old hip replacement upgraded with the latest/greatest technology and made it out of surgery with flying colors. Her recovery was aided by having two or three seasons of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on DVD at hand along with a laptop my father checked out of Georgia State University's IT center to ostensibly do more work at home, heh, heh. This is actually a notable action for my dad do to the ever so light weight degree of lying it took to obtain said laptop.

Played back to back rounds of golf with my neighbor Yoda Jacket, my brother in law, and friends at Northwood Country Club. Yoda and I are both being wooed into joining the club which happens to be right around the corner (note to anyone who clicks the link: we regualrly see those deer featured in the club's website while out on the golf course). The club has offered both our families a cheap trial 2 1/2 month membership and our womenfolk have been exploiting our temporary membership status to swim at the clubs' pool, while Yoda and I attempt to play as much golf as possible before waving off the permanent membership offer late next month. Shot 100 Saturday from the white tees, 95 Sunday from the blues.

The surprising highlight of the weekend for me was a chance recording session with my old pal Steve McCormick. Steve recorded a couple of tunes at Grey Cat over the last couple of years, but his progeny (he now has THREE kids) has tightened the grip on his free time. Steve is quite the song writer and one whose tunes I really enjoy. I’m a big fan of Irish folk music, and unconsciously his stuff seems to have that flavor. Sunday, we laid down some basic tracks to a tune titled “Miss Libby’s Treats”, which he insists is NOT about sex or drugs, but simply about candy. I’m very excited about the prospects for this tune, much the same way I was with the other completed song we recorded last year called “Someday” (you can hear it here).

It’s been a while since I’ve done any recording, having really only ducked down for some playback every once in a while over the course of the last few months. I’ve had an Alesis HD-24 24 bit hard disk recorder for about a year now without putting many hours on it, so the learning curve is still present in abundance. The HD-24 sounds absolutely amazing especially compared to the old 24 track 16 bit ADAT system that predates it in my contr0l room. Coupled with the Focusrite ISA 220 mic preamp, I’ve never enjoyed such a crystal clear recorded signal.

The real challenge with the HD-24 is the transport. Alesis last year cancelled the product which was to be the controller for the HD-24, the “ADAT Director”. This would’ve been similar to the BRC (aptly abbreviated Big Remote Control) for the old ADAT systems. This means that all the function inputing has to be done on the unit itself. Ergonomically speaking, this doesn’t present too much of a problem in my control room since the equipment rack that houses the HD-24 is within arms reach of the console chair. The big problem is that the buttons are VERY small and our session Sunday fell victim to this. Twice I accidentally pressed the track safety enable button of a previously recorded track and started recording, thus erasing a portion of an ajacent previously recorded track. This was a something that used to happen back in the analog days which I thought was a problem of days gone by. It never happened with the BRC and the ADAT’s. The second problem occurred when Steve tuned his acoustic using my chromatic tuner that he was unfamiliar with. The result was recording the guitar tracks tuned a semitone higher than standard tuning. Overall, it worked out since the subsequent “repair” tracks were much better than what we’d already recorded. One of the great things about working with Steve is that his patiance is contagious and despite these bumps, our sessions are enjoyable for both of us.

The one pleasant surprise came when swapping mics out from acoustic to vocals. I had used my Neumann TLM103 for the acoustic guitar and plugged up one of my Studio Projects C-1 mics for vocals. Coupled with the Focusrite, the C-1 sounded so much better than the TLM103, I ended up using the C-1 to re-record the acoustic guitar. I am blown away by how good it sounds. Since both Steve’s and my time is so limited, I’m sure after two or three more sessions it’ll sound horrible in comparison, but right now I’m still amazed at what we got. The compressor on the preamp compliments the C-1 very well. I’d love to host my Smoke & Mirrors friends for a session and have Chris and Ted play with this preamp. I’m sure I’d learn a lot.

I’ll post the results of “Miss Libby’s Treats” once it’s ready for primetime.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Blast From Milkyum's & Jackson's Past...

Can you guys call this one:

If that doesn't give it away, scroll down for the "reveal"...

Oh hells yeah! Here's a link for fans of one of the greatest films ever made.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The coolest thing on the internet... least this month. Check it out here. I'd love to sneak out and see this guy's band. I've heard him do some promo stuff on 96 Rock on the way into work a few times and he got major props in the paper today for an amazing performance this weekend at Eddie's Attic in Decatur.

For those that want to do the side by side comparison, here's a link to the original masterpiece that changed my life forever. God, that lovely savage distortion...

Blogging in the Name Of Allah...

Well, if you can suppress, oppress, jail and otherwise censor'em, what else is left to do but join'em? You heard right, undoubtably after reading my retrospective on skateboard ramps at West Point, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran has fired up his own blog. Tim F. at Balloon Juice says that him and John Cole won’t be adding him to their blog roll until the Iranian president, who was elected in a landslide after nullifying the candidacy of all his other opponents, takes their Online Integrity Pledge.

The blog also features an on-line opinion poll question in the upper left corner asking readers: “Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger on another world war?” radial buttons for yes/no follow. I went ahead and checked “No” and hit the “Vote” button. After a few seconds, I got a message that read, “You are completely wrong and probably had dinner with that Wrascal Wrushdie fellow just last night (spoken like Elmer Fudd). I have your IP address and will be dispatching a team of guys with those big curved swords and MC Hammer pants to lop your head off you Danish newspaper readin’ infidel” (Actually, I got a server timeout error). When you select “post a comment”, you're treated to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s biography which read’s like the guy in The Jerk, “I was born a poor black child…”.

I look forward to his thoughts on the upcoming 2006/07 football season (I've heard he hates Notre Dame "(...all of them sons of infidel whores!") and wish him a hearty welcome to the blogosphere. Hopefully, sorry, God willing, he'll soon post an avatar of himself. Mr. President, if you need help I'm only a click away.

P.S. Does someone out there know how spell curse words in that squiggly writing?

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I’ve been getting that little twinge I feel at this time of the year. It’s ever so subtle at first, barely noticeable, gradually culminating into the point of hysteria and obsession. . Poison ivy, you guess? Cough due to cold? No, both wrong answers. You are dumb, ill informed, and have no life. What I’m talkin’ ‘bout here is the commencement of the 2006/07 college and pro football seasons!

It all begins with little tombstone reports in the sports section of the paper with little tidbits about early volunteer practices going on at campus’s across the country. Just a paragraph or two on the NFL two-a-days here and there, nothing to get all to excited about, after all, it is still summertime. As the days wear on towards the waning days of August, it becomes three or four dedicated pages of the sports section, injury and scouting reports, detailed analysis of Georgia/Georgia Tech/Falcons upcoming openers, national and conference power rankings, ESPN preseason picks, etc… I ask you my friends, IS IT THE GREATEST GAME IN THE WHOLE WORLD, OR WHAT?!

With the prospect of actually being unemployed by Christmas, the promise that the coming football season brings is what's keeping a smile on my face right now. A quick run down of my random thoughts and who/what I care about…


Army No chance a reader of this blog doesn’t know why I love these guys. Grew up living and breathing Army football. It’s part of my DNA and hopefully my daughters too. Bobby Ross’s Army team has a lot to look forward to this season. Their independent conference status has allowed for better scheduling that should produce five wins this year. With any luck, they’ll beat a floundering Air Force program and squeak by a Navy team that continues to prove thay are for real.

University of Maryland Terrapins The Terps will struggle again this year as the quarterback position continues to be a question mark. My expectation is middle of the conference pack again, perhaps a lightweight bowl game. Somewhat related news, Terps star running back two short years ago Bruce Perry who's playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, got his bell rung pretty hard last night. He went limp and looked paralyzed. After a long break in the action, they put him on the board and wheeled him off. It was pretty scary. Players on both sides of the field were welling up tears. Last I heard it was a concussion, but have found no updates.

Georgia Tech A strong returning defense again this year will keep the Jackets from a subpar finish. Tech will continue to be plagued with the the same problem they’ve had for the last three years: a quarterback who suffers from Doug Flutieatitus. The only hope for senior Reggie Ball is the fact that he has one of the best and tallest receivers in div. IA, Calvin Johnson, to throw to this year. Tech opens at home against a most hated (by me and most rational people in this world) Notre Dame. ESPN will be bringing Game Day to Bobby Dodd Stadium and kick off will be at nigh more than likely. Anybody want to join us? I have only this left to say, OH HELLS YEAH!!!

Penn State Talked a bit of Penn State football with my brother in law Eric while out at the family reunion in Lake Tahoe. He’s a little guarded about the Nittany Lion’s up coming season. There are two reasons I like Penn State: My brother in law and his 4,000 brothers all went there and watching a game with them is a freak show unto itself, and the fact that PSU is really the only Northeast based football powerhouse. I’m again hoping to find a way to see a game in Happy Valley this year. Penn State’s win over a hated Florida State in last years Orange Bowl was one fo the greatest games ever played.


The Atlanta Flacons – The birds go into this season without receiver Brian Finneran (hurt in practice) who I think sucks anyway. The real question is has Jim Mora made the offensive adjustments required to simplify his playbook enough so a dolt like Michael Vick can understand it. That, and give the guy schemes that allow for him to do what he does best: run the damn ball. I don’t think Vick will ever be a world class passer despite having a bullet for an arm. If Mora can accept this and make the adjustments to his schemes, the Falcons might be able to win a wildcard game this year.

The NY Jets – I have always been a Jets fan going way back to my NY days. They are the Army football team of the NFL. I’m not sure what they look like this year, but I’m sure they’re underdogs in every game and that makes them a team worth pulling for. My main man Jackson’s favorite team. Reason enough to root for them.

The Oakland Raiders – Al Davis has decided to give Art Schell another chance at captaining a disgraced Raider team this year. They looked okay last night in the preseason opener against the Eagles, but who the hell knows, it’s preseason. I do believe that Art can instill the discipline the Raider need so badly. The Raider spirit is a notoriously undisciplined one, but organized chaos is the happy medium that works best for Oakland. They’ll finish better than last year, but not in playoff contention.

The NY Giants – Yes, like Jackson, I like both the Giants and the Jets. I haven’t read much about them this year either, but Mini Manning will be back and as much as I doubted his ability when they picked him up a couple of years ago, I think the dude's got game. Should be exciting to watch at a minimum.

Our biggest and most immediate challenge this football season will be finding a new spot in which to host our Georgia Tech tailgating extravaganza. The morons at Tech decided sometime this past winter to plant a grove of pine trees in the field that we have been using for the past seven years. We will find something soon and you can bet that you’ll be getting some killer on the scene posts to this blog this season using my new kickass new e-mail/phone device which should include photos and movies et al assuming I figure out how to make it work.

We will again have the Reifer/Phillips football pool in full swing this season with perhaps an on line interface which will allow you to get instant status on yours and everyone else’s picks. Shoot me a note if any newbee’s want to join in the fun.

Lastly, this will be the first of many open invitations to any readers who are interested in joining us for any of the GT home games. Simply let me know you’re interested and will get it set up. I am also hoping that I’ll make it up for an Army game too. I’ll die if I don’t get to see them this year. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Look at Them Yo Yo's...

To say it’s been a sparse week on my blogroll would be an understatement. Even A VC didn’t post anything today. I guess it’s been a busy week for us all. Jackson and Chrispy are buried moving the colossus that is Smoke & Mirrors sound studio to a location deeper in the borough of Brooklyn while doing battle with a new set of bass tone addicted neighbors who have no respect for the recording arts. Misanthrope is busy dumping shares of Sprint stock from all his funds and/or getting chewed out for not ditching them in time, and Stink Rock must still be basking in the glow of his recent guitar lesson with his hero Charles from the Wrens. Me? I’ve been posting light this week due to having to actually do some work while at work. I hope we all get back to it next week or sometime soon. I miss everybody.

In addition to Yoda Jacket’s post of his adorable daughter’s ballet recital, there was an inspiring thought offered by a guy named Evan over at Savage Distortion blog in response to Jackson’s claim that MTV sucks, a sentiment in which I concur. Evan’s conclusion is that Jackson and the rest of us are just old and cranky, again a sentiment which I concur with, but he makes a very good point that I feel compelled to riff on and that is the reality that music video is dead. Yes, as much of a harbinger that it once was for the music industry, it has now gone the way of leg warmers and leisure suits.

All the retro pieces written lately marking the 25th anniversary of MTV’s debut all cite supporting stats to this reality. Six or seven years after it’s launch, MTV’s ratings began to tank ushering in more shows of the standard programming variety, along with it the regrettable pioneering concept of “reality TV”. This continued to this day, and if you’re an investor, you’re no doubt happy with the results of the paradigm shift away from the music video only format. Interestingly enough though is the fact that as music videos became more scarce on MTV, never was there any public discussion (to my recollection) as to exactly why the network was losing viewers to the old format. In the beginning, record labels actually funded music videos themselves, not even charging the costs back to the band. This was SOP even when the productions got more elaborate and expensive, but at some point that changed. Where music videos were once seen by the labels as free advertising for an act's record, at some point around MTV’s ten year mark, the production costs became the responsibility of the act themselves.

I am confident the real reason for this popularity wane is that the “art” of music video has quietly come to pass. It was a cool thing for a while, but music has simply returned back to its natural aural form. There are many reasons, iPods, music services, etc…all of which are worthy topics of discussion on their own, but I for one am kind of glad that it happened be honest. Good music needs no pre-baked visual, much like reading a book doesn’t. Music video precog images kept listeners from creating images of their own. Undeniably, it was interesting and at times even addicting, but I’d say we’ve all moved on, simple as that.

I still enjoy watching those MTV heyday videos though. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and I am proud to be a member of the true MTV generation. Yes Evan, people actually sat down and watched music videos for hours on end at one time. Two words: Nina Blackwood my friend. If only they had aired Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at The Moon” video more…

Col. (ret.) David John Phillips Celebrates a Birthday...

We will celebrate my dad's sixty something birthday this weekend. My brother, whom we rarely get to see, will be in town and I look forward to playing a round of golf with all of us together. Dad recently blasted this picture out to our family reunion attendee distribution which I loosely translate as permission to post on my blog.

It is easy to understand where I get my good looks. No joke, he must have had to beat chicks off with a stick when he was a senior cadet at West Point. Happy birthday dad!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Could The Cigar Embargo Soon Be Over?

My list of people I wish were dead is actually pretty short and more than likely contains the names that most others would include on there lists. Fidel Castro is on my list. Not for the "revolution", but for all those he's jailed, and for all those who have died fleeing his repressive regime. From the news this morning, it looks like I soon may be able to cross him off the list My Name is Earl style if luck will hold out.

Unfortunately for the Cuban people, his asshole brother Raul is next in line and his ideology is on par with his older brothers. Raul is 75 years old which means that once Fidel goes, I’ll be adding his name to my list.

Unlike Iraq or any other ME country for that matter, Cuba is an economic sleeping giant waiting for a new revolution. Like the University of Maryland’s football program four short years ago, Cuba has all the elements for success lying close to the surface.. The Terps needed only a good coach to make it happen, Cuba needs only freedom to awaken and break out of it’s aged repressive communist shell.

Castro reminds me of the line Capt. Willard utters about Col. Kurtz in 'Apocalypse Now' as he sneaks in to kill him, “…even the jungle wanted him dead.”